Charlotte home explosion ‘accidental’, investigators unable to find gas leak source

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte Fire investigators have determined an explosion at a home in Ballantyne that killed a woman and seriously injured her husband was “accidental,” WSOC reported.

The $1.2 million house on James Jack Lane was reduced to rubble after exploding July 2.

After the explosion, WSOC flew over the scene and saw flames and smoke rising from the debris pile. Wood and insulation were scattered at the site, and debris was blown into the adjacent street, as well as into some surrounding trees and nearby yards.

Officials said the house was secured while the homeowners, Jebran and Rania Karam, were on vacation, but there was a significant rise in natural gas before July 2.

This indicated a natural gas leak inside the house.

Charlotte Fire said the house was likely filled with natural gas and ignited within minutes of the Karams coming home from vacation.

Investigators said they were not able to determine the specific cause or piece of equipment involved in the leak. They also could not identify an ignition source.

Insurance carriers and specialty engineers are expected to continue with an outside investigation. Charlotte Fire said crews will use forensic testing and examine the natural gas equipment from the house.

Officials said the process could take several months to get a detailed analysis.

Jebran Karam was flown to a hospital with serious injuries after the explosion. Firefighters said he was conscious and alert after the explosion and was able to call 911 to help rescue crews find him.

Rania Karam was killed in the explosion.

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